Isthmus: A Novel: Widow Walk Saga #2 by Gerard Lasalle

Isthmus: A Novel: Widow Walk Saga #2 by Gerard Lasalle

The story continues in Gerard LaSalle’s Widow Walk Saga with Ishtmus, an historic fiction following the life of Emmy Evers as she leaves a failed homesteading attempt in the Pacific Northwest to return to Boston  at the dawn of the U.S. Civil War.

Book Review:

Moving forward a few years from Widow Walk, Emmy is leaving the tragic events and struggle behind and heading back to family in Boston.  Traveling via rail along the Panama Isthmus railroad, we are again treated to a story rich in depth and complexity.  It is a time of great change and tumult: just before the start of the U.S. Civil War, social, political and mercenary elements are in play.

As in Widow Walk, LaSalle mixes actual figures into the story, giving their perspective and history:  Garibaldi with his revolutionary exploits, Runnels the Isthmus Guard, the political ideologues for and against segregation, slavery and expansionism.  The issues are varied and complex, as are the people, but all are clearly detailed.  The sheer number of people we encounter through Emmy is daunting, but the major issues of the time shine through what could be cluttered.

LaSalle has tied a story to Emmy and allowed us to accompany her as she experiences major events of the 19th century on her way to rebuild her life yet again. The Emmy we saw grow and strengthen in Widow Walk has kept that survivor’s attitude, and yet is still observing all she encounters.  There is a continuity in her character that shines through in both stories, and leads us to the next. These books are laden with detail, description and above all an engaging writing style that is a pleasure to read.

Isthmus: A Novel: Widow Walk Saga #2 by Gerard Lasalle

Title: Isthmus: A Novel
Author: Gerard LaSalle
Genre: Historical Fiction, Family Saga
Published by: Avasta
Published on: 25 December 2014
Source: Smith Publicity
Pages: 410
Rated: four-stars
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It is 1860 and revolution is erupting throughout the world over universal emancipation. Civil war looms in the Unites States. In the midst of it all, a young woman is moving back to Boston with what is left of her family, devastated and bankrupted by savage, tragic events that occurred less than a year ago in the Pacific Northwest. They traverse a hostile terrain on the new Panama isthmus railroad, the most modern transportation in the world. From inside their coach they watch the humid forest, a different type of green from what they knew up north, slipping fast past, a warm verdant blur. Looking down the aisle they see an uncomfortable array of fellow travelers, an international mix of characters with whom they will get to know all too well . . . each with hidden hopes and dreams . . . predators and victims, desperadoes and hangmen, widows and widow makers. A convenient ride through the jungle. An inconvenient assault. A run for their lives.


A copy of this title was provided via Smith Publicity for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About Gerard LaSalle

Born in Seattle, Gerard LaSalle has several degrees, including a BA from Reed College, an MD from Cornell, an MFA in film/video from CalArts, and an emergency medicine residency at UCLA. In his nonmedical pursuits, he is an award-winning documentary and animation filmmaker. His diverse interests also include historical research, sculpting, and writing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. He works from his studio on Maury Island in the Puget Sound area of Washington State.

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